A fourth-wicket stand of 136, capped by Omphile Ramela’s well-worked hundred put South Africa A in control on the first day of the unofficial Test against India A on Tuesday.
He combined superbly with Temba Bavuma, who ended the day at the crease on 55, off a patient 117 balls (with just five fours) to help take South Africa to 293-4 at Wayarad. This was Ramela’s fifth first-class hundred, and his first on the difficult wickets of the sub-continent. But he made light of the task, hitting 12 fours and three sixes for his 112 before he was caught behind off Axar Patel with four balls remaining in the day.
The two batsmen were given a solid platform from which to work after Reeza Hendricks (50) and Stiaan van Zyl (28) put on 60 for the first wicket after Dane Vilas won the toss and elected the to bat. That was bolstered by a solid contribution from Theunis de Bruyn (38), and when Bavuma joined Ramela, there were already 137 runs on the board.
Ramela’s career has gone from strength to strength since he became a regular fixture in the Cape Cobras line-up. In the Sunfoil Series he was the fifth leading runs scorer with more than 700 runs at an average of 48, including back-to-back centuries against the Warriors and the Titans, one of which was his maiden double century.
Bavuma, too, is blossoming. He averaged more than 100 in both of South Africa A’s previous four-day series against Australia A, and the England Lions. More recently he took the attack to Bangladesh in the first Test match to make top score when most of his colleagues were struggling.
It has been a welcome tunraround in form after the disappointing triangular one-day series, in which the illness-ravaged side lost all four matches.
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